I was inspired to write this after reading the excellent new blog The Gray Area by the mysterious MSK. By the way, I have been saying for years that the agenda of our Nation has been driven by the fringes on the left and right. People with passion get the most attention and tend to spend the most money getting their candidates elected. As many of you know, I am a fanatical gun nut. So it's hard for me to see the gray area on that issue but it's important to try. Otherwise the intellect shuts down and only shouting remains. The Gray Area is a great concept for a blog and is (so far) really well executed.
But that wasn't what I wanted to write about. MSK posts on the issue of executive compensation and this is a topic that makes me scream (and normal people yawn). Did it bother me when the Chairman of my old company made $6,000,000 in the same year that they eliminated the profit sharing plan? Sure it did. It was politically insensitive and severely hurt morale. Yet, that company was (and remains to this day) profitable as a result of some very smart decisions made at his level. That is worth compensating. It also would have been a blow to the company if he had left for greener pastures elsewhere. I also believe that incentivising employees to succeed at all levels is the best model going. If you generate revenue for the company, you get rewarded. Period. If you don't, you lose your job. um, also Period. Sounds tough, and it is. In fact, it keeps me awake at night. But it also keeps me motivated between 9:30 and 11:30 and then from 2:00 to 4:00 (that was a joke, boss!). It kills me that the media doesn't get the fact that the Wells Fargo employees who were going to be honored for their successful year with a trip to Vegas were part of the solution, not the problem. And what about the employees at the hotel? Don't they have families and bills to pay? So when the CNBC guy asked Matt Lauer on the Today Show this morning(in jest, of course) if he would take a pay cut if Today's ratings "went to zero" I screamed, "You're asking the wrong question!" Because what they should ask Matt, Meredith, Ann and Al is this. What if the Today Show's ratings were through the roof, generating tens of millions in ad revenue and was the only brightspot at NBC who was otherwise hemorraging money, would you agree to take only $500,000 a year? Hell no, you'd go to ABC in a heartbeat. This is why you shouldn't limit the pay of your top producers. A trip to Vegas would be nice too.